January 30, 2015
The Kaivalyam Retreat, located about a 10-15 minute drive outside of Munnar, offers a tranquil setting in a pretty forest above a cardamom plantation. Despite the delightful location a short distance from tea plantations, the retreat does not have tea plantation views.
Our upgraded room was large and comfortable with views through bare trees overlooking a misty valley. From the amount of rain the region receives and the quantity of moisture in the air I imagine the valley is frequently foggy, which can be charming if you like that sort of thing or a total drag if you are hoping for clear mountain views.
Some of the tastiest meals we experienced on this trip were enjoyed in the retreat’s dining room. The large room is sunny in the morning and pleasant in the evening with generously spaced tables covered with table cloths and lit by candle light. Although the food is locally grown and prepared with care the menu is all veg and no alcohol is served. From a menu that changes daily, guests place their food order with the receptionist by 6:00 for a dinner service that begins at 7:30.
Breakfast is served between 8-10AM and is a multi-course affair of generous portions of cooked to order items starting with a fruit plate followed by jam and toast – totally skippable if you like Indian breakfast –
then uttapam and chutney followed by poori and sambar – all of which were served fresh, hot and tasty. The cooked breakfast items change daily and are posted on a board outside the dining room. Coffee, however, was a problem – ordered when we first sat down it still hadn’t arrived 45 minutes later when we were finishing the last of our breakfast. In general service is slow and inefficient.
Wifi is generally only available in the common room / dining room.
The retreat offers a variety of activities listed on a board outside the dining room.